Zeta Chapter at University of Southern Maine Inducts 10 New Students
By Samantha Harden
The annual induction ceremony for the Zeta Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Omicron Honor Society for the University of Southern Maine took place over zoom on Thursday, March 18th. Although we would have preferred an in person ceremony, it was a significant honor to induct ten exceptional students from the Environmental Planning and Policy department. Students and their families were able to attend the zoom along with faculty.
The evening started 15 minutes before the ceremony so that there was time for chatting and “mingling” before. Once the ceremony started, faculty advisor to the KAO Chapter, Dr. Daniel Martinez, as well as President Michelle Radley gave a brief overview of the ceremony and the history of KAO.
One by one the inductees were introduced and a faculty member read a brief description of their accomplishments and aspirations. After each student was introduced, they corded themselves and lit their LED candle. Once every student was introduced, president Michelle Radley started the pledge which was collectively repeated and the inductees became lifelong members of KAO. All things considered, with technology, and the pandemic, the evening went very well and it was an honor and a pleasure to be able to induct these ten extraordinary students into the Kappa Alpha Omicron honors society.
KAO & The Footprint App Launch 60 Day Carbon Footprint Challenge!
Press Release March 1,2021
The Interdisciplinary Environmental Association , IEA, and the Footprint App Inc. are partnering to launch a 60 Day Carbon Footprint Challenge across the IEA’s honors society, Kappa Alpha Omicron! Our goal is to tackle climate change together by adapting new, sustainable habits both on and off campus!
Footprint App, Inc. is an official public benefit corporation committed to addressing climate change at the individual, community, and corporate level through an interactive application that allows people to track and calculate their daily carbon footprint. Their mission is simple: empower people to make sustainable choices that combat climate change. Most recently, Footprint signed the Science-Based Targets Initiative, SBTi, a commitment to help society stay below a 1.5 degree Celsius warming.
Throughout 60 days, students will log their daily consumption and complete in-app challenges that are focused on changing daily behaviors to form alternative, planet-friendly habits. Each chapter will also participate in a unique chapter challenge which is designed to encourage community service and outdoor adventure. Students will learn a new skill, discover a new hobby, and foster stronger relationships within their KAO chapter.
“I am most looking forward to the unique chapter challenges because our KAO societies span across the US and every state has different environmental and community needs that our chapters can attend to” says Olivia Cason, the community outreach coordinator for the IEA. Not only will the wide range of geographic backgrounds make the competition more intriguing, but the diverse range of academic studies from Environmental Science and Policy to Coastal Marine Biology and Public Health, will also elicit different student experiences and chapter strategies making the overall challenge rich in both educational value and personal growth.
While the Footprint App initially launched as an educational tool for classrooms K-12, it has since adapted it’s curriculum to meet the needs of university classrooms. The 60 Day Carbon Footprint Challenge will help the company obtain a better understanding of the already existing attitudes college students have about climate change, and track new information about how likely they are to adapt new habits and use the available resources of the application.
Dakota Stormer, CEO of the Footprint App, "the IEA organization is filled with bright, inspiring young leaders, and I am excited to see the impact we will make together. Footprint App, Inc. is here to help collectively combat climate change and engage the next generation of climate leaders."
The competition will run from March 1-May 1,2021. Stay updated by checking the official Kappa Alpha Omicron webpage and by reading our newsletter!
Publication Release: Uncertain Harvest:
A Novel by Charles Simpson
February 26th, 2021
IEA Member, Dr. Charles Simpson published his first novel Uncertain Harvest in November, 2020.
"A reporter stumbles on a plot by an international corporation to use genetic technology to monopolize the world's food production and destroy ecosystems. His pursuit of truth leads him on a vigorous and life threatening search across the globe".
Virtual Conference Opportunity: A Call for Collaborators and Abstracts!
Philosophy of the City Research Group will host Philosophy of the City Now: Around the World in 24 hours, a virtual conference dedicated to understanding the role of the city in the current pandemic and how our relationships to cities may change in a Post-Covid world. Topics will include but are not limited to urban resilience, architecture, public health, and sustainable development in time of crisis. Please visit the conference website to learn about registration and submission guidelines. Abstracts are due on March 17,2020!
Interdisciplinary Environmental Association Partners with the Department of Energy for Interdisciplinary Competition
We partnered with U.S. Department of Energy in hosting a challenge for university students to advance one of the most up-and-coming industries: marine energy. This competition, which is in its second year, is designed to challenge interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate students to offer unique solutions to the burgeoning marine energy industry that can play a vital role in powering the blue economy.
Kappa Alpha Omicron at Birmingham-Southern College Inducts Five New Chapter Members!
On September 10, 2020, five new members were inducted into the Mu Chapter of Kappa Alpha Omicron for Urban Environmental Science at Birmingham-Southern College. The group's small size meant the ceremony could be in-person. Mu’s KAO advisor, Dr. William Holt, read the credentials and honors associated with the chapter and then welcomed us one by one into the society. It was a rush of excitement for each of us as we walked across the stage and received our cords. We stood there proudly, draped in the green and white cords, as our chapter photo was taken followed by casting our vote for this year’s officers. Officers are as follows – Brianne Kendall as President, Emily Wise as Vice President, and Lora Dunn as Secretary/Treasurer. Molly McDaniel and Thomas Watson were also present at the ceremony.
After the induction, the officers stayed behind to sign forms and discuss the goals for KAO this semester. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we are limited in the ways that we conduct on campus activities, however we are committed to focusing on community service both on and off campus. On campus, we will host a fall clean-up at the Ecoscape, a community garden that has become overgrown and damaged from quarantine neglect. For our off-campus experience, Mu will visit Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, a 466 acre preserve dedicated to protecting unique plants and wildlife found in the Southeast. Turkey Creek is notable for being the only place in the world that is home to Vermillion Darters. Our chapter will facilitate a service day guided by Turkey Creek’s Director Charles. We hope both events will encourage BSC students to spend time in nature while also supporting their school’s environmental initiatives.
As President of the Mu KAO chapter, my goal is to facilitate an awakening of environmental awareness for students across campus and inspire a campus wide shift towards more sustainable practices, both individually, and collectively at BSC. Our university would benefit greatly from a recycling and compost program; a future project that Mu can lead. I will use my leadership abilities to help students connect with on-campus environmental and sustainability projects beyond those that KAO facilitates and encourage environmental consciousness in all clubs and organizations. One fantastic initiative at BSC is coordinated talks between the Urban Environmental Science and Biology departments. These meetings bring together students and faculty and facilitate interdisciplinary discussions while sparking new interests and perspectives. My goal is to invite students from other disciplines to join these talks, which I hope will inspire more students to get involved with sustainability projects within their own groups and greater community. Our KAO chapter has high expectations this year that aim to motivate environmental change throughout our school and community.
Intimidation and Murder Against Environmental Activists Must End
Greg Cronin, Yari Sina Sierra, Olivia Cason
June 24, 2020
The Interdisciplinary Environmental Association (IEA) is committed to the study, understanding, protection, preservation, and sustainable use of ecosystems across the globe. We value the transdisciplinary approach of working with scholars from diverse fields, policy-makers, stakeholders, advocates, and leaders in environmental decision-making. Conflict resolution must be guided by the ethical application of science, traditional knowledge, policies and laws, transparent dialogue, and consideration of healthy ecosystems as a commons that benefit society at large. We believe respectful discussions and negotiations, where all sides are heard, are how agreements and decisions should be made and those agreements must be honored. Violence, terrorism, coercion, and force should not be used in environmental decision-making process.
The IEA unequivocally denounces the rash of murders, intimidation, and displacements inflicted upon environmental protectors. Indigenous people protecting ecosystems within their territory have suffered most by this violence, often by outside forces attempting to profit from the non-sustainable exploitation of resources. These cowardly assassinations of environmental protectors and community leaders are intended to seed fear for a cultural and land appropriation of Indigenous groups, for the political and financial agendas of corrupt governments or private companies. The IEA calls for the immediate halt of violence against environmental protectors and demands that governments must hold responsible individuals, groups, and corporations responsible for the perpetration of these crimes. Proper punishments must be meted. Reparations must be made to victims and their families. No reparation can replace the murdered, but it can assist survivors and dissuade future violence. Individuals can help halt the violence by contacting government officials and by carefully considering the corporations that they support financially. Boycott companies who support violence against environmental protectors.
The next International Interdisciplinary Conference on the Environment will be held in Mexico City in June 2021, if the pandemic allows. We welcome all scholarly presentations at IICE, but will have a special session and panel related to the intimidation and murder of environmental protectors. If you would like more information, or would like to serve on the panel, please contact Dr. Cronin at MexicoCityIICE@gmail.com. Please join IEA in creating a world with environmental justice for all. The Interdisciplinary Environmental Association stands in solidarity with environmental protectors.
Dr. Geoff Beattie's Trophy Hunting is Shortlisted for Taylor & Francis’ Outstanding Book and Digital Product Award.
In Response to BLM Movement
June 12, 2020
The Interdisciplinary Environmental Association advocates for both the protection of the planet and people. Our association is founded upon the use interdisciplinary methods to address the world’s most severe environmental challenges and we understand that intersectional environmentalism must be practiced in all forms of interdisciplinary environmental efforts to effectively work against the injustices that are occurring at disproportionate rates in communities of color and to other vulnerable groups. The Interdisciplinary Environmental Association will not ignore the intersections of environmentalism and social justice, and will stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, POC communities and the planet.
We will use our platform to proactively work and continue to learn about environmental racism which has historically inflicted wounds on the world and society. In our own community, we will advocate for increased representation of Black, Indigenous, POC communities and Women from our members, to advisory board and conference attendees. We will make stronger efforts in our association's diversity to amplify the incredible work, and to share the stories of POC scientists and researchers. We will not remain silent during pivotal moments that impact people and the planet.